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Prof. Charles Krohn ‘58 Receives 2021 Rev. Vincent J. Guinan, CSB, Distinguished Alumnus Award

Charles S. KrohnTeaching and acting. The classroom and the stage. English Professor Emeritus Charles S. Krohn ‘58 has successfully melded these two professions with one augmenting the other. He often brings acting into the classroom, doing something eccentric to captivate his students. Krohn’s dedication as an alumnus engaged in the community and teaching generations of Celts has earned him the Rev. Vincent J. Guinan, CSB Distinguished Alumnus Award for 2021-2022.

As Betty Fischer ’52 wrote when she nominated Krohn, “for 60 years Charles has been a faithful alumnus with 54 of those years as a professor. On top of that, Charles has 55 years giving performances seen by thousands of delighted theater goers.”

Highest Alumni Honor

This is University of St. Thomas’ highest alumni honor. The award recognizes a former student who has remained engaged with UST after graduation and made outstanding contributions to their alma mater and to society through professional and personal excellence and community involvement.

“It was my honor to give Prof. Krohn the news that he had been selected as the 2021 Guinan Alumnus of the Year,” Amy Youngblood, director of Alumni Relations, said. “It was a pleasure talking with him about his illustrious career and his great support of UST. Now that he has announced his retirement, I’m even more pleased that we are able to honor him this way.”

Krohn the Student

Following his Honorable Discharge from the Navy and using his GI Bill, Krohn enrolled at UST in the fall of 1954. He was graduated with a BA in English in 1958 and in 1962 received his MA in English from U of H Central Campus. Student Krohn rose to leadership positions while attending UST; president, Holy Name Society; president, English Club; Letterman’s Club for Baseball; representative, Student Council; and an academic spot in the Aquinas Honor Society.

The highlight of my college career occurred about three times a week during my four-year tenure I was enrolled,” Krohn said. “As there were only about 200 students enrolled during my student days, our cafeteria, located on the ground floor of a former garage apartment, could easily accommodate the St. Thomas version of ‘The Hunger Games.’ It was during those lunches where several of our teachers, both lay and clergy, would sit amongst us students, chatting, sharing stories and joking with us and sometimes continuing a dialogue begun earlier in the day in the classroom, that my ‘education’ was enhanced. Just the notion that learning was not confined to the school room was, for me, a ‘eureka’ moment.”

Krohn the Alumnus

Krohn has been loyal to the founding principles of the University in the classroom and life.

 “I hope I have lived up to those principles,” Krohn said, “and if I have at all, it is thanks to the

influence of the many UST teachers and administrators and staff and fellow classmates 

who formed my UST ‘extended family.’ Those teachers, Frs. Sullivan, Caird, Lee, Rush, Poupore, Young, Monaghan, Guinan, Brezik, William R. (Bill) McKee, Kelly, Dubay, Swilley, et alia, in many different ways and for many different reasons, sharpened, inspired, excited, pleased, influenced and angered us; and four years of baseball coached by the outstanding Larry Miggins, whose coaching skill was exceeded only by his wit,” Krohn said.

Krohn the Professor, Actor

He joined the UST faculty in 1966 teaching Shakespeare, 18th and 19th century English novels, 20th century drama as literature et al. He auditioned and was cast in 1963 for a role in Irma La Douce, and that led to an audition for Nina Vance, founder of The Alley Theatre, where he was accepted into the Acting Company for the 1963-64 season. He returned to teaching, and in 1985, he once again, became a member of the Alley Company, receiving Emeritus status in 2019.

Aaron Stryk ‘01, Immediate Past President of UST’s Alumni Association Board, offers this assessment of Krohn’s incredible 54 years as a faculty member. “Prof. Krohn used his gifts and proficiencies to serve UST and its student body by instilling in them an appreciation of great literary works and the written word, as well as developing the critical thinking skills they would need to grow intellectually into the best versions of themselves.”

Stryk, who acted in UST drama productions directed by Krohn’s wife Chesley, had Krohn as a professor of English Literature. Stryk says, “His stage was a classroom and his audience now a group of 25 inquisitive students. When it comes to my earliest UST memories, the shadow of the legendary Charles Krohn looms LARGE in my imagination.”

Join us in Celebrating Charles Krohn

Prof. Krohn will be celebrated along with fellow faculty retirees at a retirement party on campus in May. At an alumni event to be announced at a later date, UST will celebrate Prof. Charles Krohn’s meritorious recognition as an outstanding alumnus who lives the Basilian’s motto of goodness, discipline and knowledge in his teaching, acting and family life.